6 Ways Warehouse Stores Get You to Spend Too Much


What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Find out how to counteract a warehouse store's tricks of the trade.

Everything is larger than life at Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club. That includes product sizes, shelves and even the shopping carts.

Whether you’re a family stocking the pantry on a budget or a soccer coach looking for post-game snacks in bulk, you can trundle some killer deals out the door.

Yet we also have to remember that, like any other retailer, warehouse stores stay in business because they know how to part us from our dollars.

Following are six tips to avoid being trapped by warehouse stores’ tricks of the trade.

1. Ignore ‘warehouse’ decor

The floors are concrete. The beams are exposed. Stuff is stacked on plain metal shelving or on pallets.

Here’s what that Spartan appearance says to us consumers: “They don’t waste money on décor and carpeting and Muzak, so we’re bound to get unbelievable deals.”

Generally, that’s true. Just make sure that rushing to buy out of fear of missing a great price doesn’t keep you from doing the math. Remember, too, that low prices might tempt us to buy stuff we don’t need.

2. Remember that you are paying extra

Part of the reason we pay less at warehouse stores is that we shell out each year for the privilege of walking through the door. The annual fee offsets some of our savings.

Generally speaking, the membership fee will easily pay for itself, especially if you’re purchasing basics like over-the-counter medications, gasoline, tires, meat, dairy products and pet food.

At times, you can get a better deal at regular stores, especially when combining sales and coupons.

However, getting a pretty good price consistently at the warehouse likely beats getting super prices every so often at supermarkets and drugstores. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to fuss with coupons, warehouse stores might be for you.

3. Don’t buy food you can’t eat

Large quantities are the hallmark of warehouse stores. But even if you really like an item, be honest: Are you going to be able to consume that much bagged salad, or all those cookies?

Put another way: I love grape tomatoes. They make a wonderful snack, and they’re delicious in salads. But we probably couldn’t finish several pounds of the things before they rotted.

If you’re throwing food away, you’re not saving money.

4. Beware the deadly FOMO and WWLT

“Fear of missing out” drives a lot of irrational buying. Knowing that the inventory changes constantly might cause you to pull the trigger on a purchase even if you’re not sure you need or want it.

Just as bad is WWLT: “Wouldn’t (whoever) love that?” You see the camouflage-printed jammies or the hardback mystery novel that would be perfect for someone in your life. Like, say, yourself.

Come clean: Have you ever gone to Costco for milk, oranges and canned goods and walked out with a trampoline? It happens.

If it’s something you don’t need — or something you want but can’t pay for right now — it’s no bargain.

5. Put on your track shoes

As soon as you enter the store, run. Do not be distracted by the bright shiny big-screen televisions, smartphones and other pretty toys by the entrance.

If you’ve been wavering about making a purchase on something like that, the discounted price tag might be enough to convince you. But if that new iWhatever isn’t currently in your budget, you’ve just made another decision: to carry a credit card balance or to withdraw money from savings.

It’s much better to wait until you’ve saved enough to pay with cash.

6. Be an informed consumer

The same consumer tactics you use everywhere else also apply at warehouse stores: Make a list, compare unit prices and carry cash instead of plastic.

And once more, with feeling: Learn the difference between wants and needs. Sure, that next-generation smartphone or giant-screen TV might improve your life, but it shouldn’t do so at the expense of your everyday budget.

How do you keep from being snookered into buying more than you really need at a warehouse store? Let us know by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: 8 Ways to Get Your FICO Score for Free

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,067 more deals!